Frances Ricketts Q and A

We caught up with resident artist Frances Ricketts to find out a bit more about what she's working on during her residency at Tactile Arts.

How did you come to be a member of Tactile Arts?

When I arrived in Darwin in 2009 I set about joining the Art Associations to be able to exhibit and showcase my work. At that time I was primarily a visual artist, I worked landscaping in remote towns and communities across with Top End from Broome to the islands of the Gulf. In experiencing the heat and toil of the often harsh conditions and working with the plants and rocks, a relationship with this landscape developed  that I painted in oils and watercolours. 

Tell us a bit about your artistic practice?

I admired a great rock & mineral collection while buying plants and was invited to the Top End Gem & Mineral Club. I began lapidary and jewellery making learning to operate saws and grinding and polishing wheels to make cabochons and free form gemstones for jewellery. I taught rock craft in the club’s “Rocks are Fun for Kids” group and as President for two years, I coached new members in cutting and polishing gemstones. I conducted many fossicking trips; to the Finnis valley, Grove Hill, Daly river, Pine creek and Katherine as well as fossil hunting along the coast. Longer trips to the mineral rich areas of Harts Range and Wave Hill are made, these locations are the treasure troves of the Top End.


What’s your biggest take home from your residency so far?

In my residency term, I invited members to try silver soldering with me and we made rings. I have continued silversmithing independently with more confidence, after having had some group meetings. This was a major development in my jewellery making skills set, the culmination of processes to making a finished jewellery piece of quality.


You have an exhibition coming up at Tactile Arts, tell us a bit about what’s instore?

In developing works for my exhibition ‘Precious’, I sought to reflect on the raw rock beginnings of the jewellery pieces and want visitors to feel that they have arrived somewhere. To catch a glimpse of the place the stones came from, in landscape images and experience the look & feel of the rough rock specimens on display. The explosions of colour and fused patterns that appear in the stones as they are formed, cut and polished. I hope to have captured the beauty of the landscape in each finished jewellery piece from its origin.